Angioplasty & Stenting
Balloon angioplasty is done is the hospital. During the procedure, a small catheter (tube) is inserted into the blood vessel of the heart at the site of blockage. This special catheter has an inflatable balloon at its tip. Once the balloon is inflated, the plaque (cholesterol build up) is pushed out to the side allowing blood to flow freely down the vessel.
The entry site for the catheter is either the groin or the wrist. The procedure could take from one to two hours depending on the complexity of the blockages. Though you are awake during the procedure, you are given sedatives and also receive numbing injection at the site where the catheter is introduced.
At the end of the procedure you may have to lie in bed for a few hours. Some patients are able to return home the same day, but need someone to drive them home. You may be restricted from heavy lifting for a few days after the procedure.
Like any procedure, there is a small risk of complications, mostly involving bleeding at the entry site.
After angioplasty, the catheter may be used to place a small mesh tube, called a stent, into the site of the blockage. The stent works to keep the plaque packed against the wall of the blood vessel and the artery propped open.